RIVER WATER SERIES: Fluid Dynamics of a Sea Witch
The last few months, I had been pouring creative energy into vast paper paintings depicting the universe, hidden dimensions and dark matter. Ripping and spray painting outdoors, in the elemental energy of wind and rain, I floated freely in this space - until grounded with a resounding thud, trapped in dimensions of an earthly kind.
Locked down on a Thames houseboat during a harsh Covid winter, heightened my awareness of the ever-changing waves and tides. How to adapt, and capture this wildness? My boat has a name and a soul. And like a siren song calling, it urged me to see what the two of us could create.
I answer her with trays of scooped up river water, thickened with Carageenan, into which I drip rich inks. Fluid dynamics take over - the drops swirling with all the subtle oscillations that nudge the hull. Using thin sticks I encourage the ink shapes, and play with the viscosity of both the river water and the paints to create very different, aleatory imprints.
Like a sea witch with a casket of ingredients, I dip the watercolour papers in alum, then onto the surface of the trays. Removed wet, I toss and sprinkle salts of different shapes and kinds as the water runs, choosing only when dried whether to scrape them off and leave a pattern, or let them remain as ‘jewels’ in artwork itself. For me, the salt represents the end journey of the river, heading to freedom and the sea. But mixed in the salt, each painting has a smattering of perfect, tiny, shiny silicone beads. A private, quiet acknowledgement of the plastic that floats past my home, lurking in the beauty of the current.
My next process is photography - in bright sunlight to catch and cast the shadows of the salts and beads, and the glints of metallic ink. And finally, the transfer of chosen artworks onto silks. To hang in the wind on marine-ropes, or rippling on walls… the flow of the river frozen in a moment of time, and echoed in their sculptural shapes.
I have been creating pieces with natural elements or man made items I find in unexpected places, combined with ideas sparked by meaningful co-incidences.
Intrigued by the knowledge that three quarters of our universe comprises of unknown matter we cannot see or feel, I question what exists within these particles - the dark energy and matter that surround us.
Maybe there are magical realms with fairylike creatures that have haunted man’s mind for centuries. Perhaps parallel universes, or different dimensions hosting the eternal life of the soul.
How do I convey these possibilities?
The juxtaposition running alongside our own existence is echoed in my use of materials: Raw forest wood - twisted and gnarled, mixed with the delicacy of porcelain and bronze dripping. Surrealistic oil paintings depicting animals and beings on another plane, showing how our world would look from their side. Spheres feature in most works, a symbol of another world - a portal to mystery elsewhere - or a gateway back into ours.
Inspired by keys and locks found in flee markets and antique emporiums I combine them with magnifying crystal globes to entice the viewer to look through them and actually enter through the gateway. To feel the magic that might just be within our reach - unseen but known.